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The Standing Committee of the General Synod met in an online format on Tuesday, 26th January 2021.  Mr Ken Gibson opened the meeting with a Bible reading from Matthew chapter 11 and in prayer, remembering in particular those who are unwell at this time, their carers, and all who have responsibility for public health and order.

The Standing Committee agreed to change the dates for the 2021 meeting of the General Synod from 13th–15th May to 30th September to 2nd October and authorised the Honorary Secretaries to conclude the necessary arrangements.

Mr Ken Gibson, Lay Honorary Secretary for the Province of Armagh.
Mr Ken Gibson, Lay Honorary Secretary for the Province of Armagh.

Further to the resolution of the Representative Church Body, of 9th December 2020, the Standing Committee approved the transfer of Straid Parish (Foxford) from the Diocese of Killala to the Diocese of Achonry, and the consequent alteration to the boundary between the two dioceses.

The Standing Committee approved a resolution that specified bodies or committees should be asked to begin the work of analysing, exploring and, if appropriate, implementing the Facilitation Committee’s recommendations, and should report on their work in this regard at the September meeting of the Standing Committee.  The Facilitation Committee was established in 2017, to follow up on issues arising from the work of the Commission on Episcopal Ministry and Structures, and submitted its final report to General Synod 2020, in which its recommendations were made and referred to the Standing Committee.

The Honorary Secretaries reported that there would be no meaningful benefit in carrying out a collection of census data from parishes in a year when in–person worship is suspended or governed by restrictions on the numbers who may attend church services.  It was therefore considered that the collection of data should be postponed until 2022, when, hopefully, in–person attendance at church services will have returned to pre–pandemic levels.

The Standing Committee approved a grant of €4,500 from the General Synod Royalties Fund to support the production of SEARCH Journal during 2021.

Ms Bridget Rippey was reappointed as the Complaints Administrator for the Church of Ireland, for a further one–year term.  Mr Patrick Good and Ms Beverley Turner were appointed as members of the Complaints Committee.  Mr Good was appointed as the Chairperson of the Committee and Archdeacon Leslie Stevenson as its Vice–Chairperson.

The Revd Malcolm Kingston was appointed as a member of the Standing Committee’s Budget Sub–Committee.

The Revd Aonghus Mayes was welcomed as the new clerical member of Standing Committee, under the age of 45 years, for the Diocese of Armagh.

The Revd Aonghus Mayes.
The Revd Aonghus Mayes.

Members were invited to submit nominations for the Church of Ireland members on the Secondary Education Committee in the Republic of Ireland.  The SEC has to be elected/appointed each year.  In addition to the outgoing members who are willing to let their names go forward for nomination, there is also a casual vacancy amongst the Church of Ireland members on the SEC.  The closing date for nominations is Sunday, 28th February 2021. Names to be submitted to honsecs@ireland.anglican.org.  Financial/accounting expertise is sought among those nominated.

A call for expressions of interest for a voluntary Church of Ireland Director on the board of Christian Aid (resident in the Republic) was issued following the meeting with a closing date of Friday, 26th February 2021.  This is now available at www.ireland.anglican.org/vacancies and expressions of interest or requests for further information can be sent to Dr Catherine Smith at honsecs@ireland.anglican.org.  Applications will be brought to the March meeting of Standing Committee. 

The meeting closed with the Grace.

For further information please contact:

Church of Ireland Press Office 
Church of Ireland House 
61–67 Donegall Street 
Belfast, BT1 2QH 

Email: Press Office

Peter Cheney

+44 (0)7774 295 369

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